I recently finished watching Season 3 of Mad Men (I know, I know, I’m was behind the times, but I’ve been watching DVD and am now all caught up).
As everyone who follows the show knows, the next to last episode of of that season deals with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Having not been alive during that time, I was struck by the depiction of everyone’s response–glued to the TV, crying, a personal sense of devastation–and how the only event in my lifetime that ever generated a similar response was the 9/11 attacks (with Hurricane Katrina the only other event even in the ballpark).
But when put in light of what happened September 11, 2001, I can’t possibly imagine ever being as upset over the assassination of a president as people in the 1960s were over JFK (whether I had voted for the person or not). Would I be sad? Absolutely. Angry. You bet’cha. Scared for the country? Of course–who knows what the aftermath might be.
But the personal level that people felt JFK’s death in 1963? No. Ultimately, the president is only one person, and one by the nature of his job has willingly assumed risk. Compared to the vast numbers of innocents in the World Trade Center and New Orleans… the magnitude simply doesn’t compare.
The sad steps by which a nation lost its innocence.